‘Work with us on the A27’. That’s the strong voice to the government from the county and district councils after two landmark meetings.
West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council, supported by Gillian Keegan MP, have come together with local communities to shape the future plans for the A27 in Chichester. As a result they will call upon Highways England, working with our communities, to find the right scheme for the area and pursue future investment in the road rather than take any of the current options proposed.
A series of community workshops, called ‘Build a Better A27’, have been held by West Sussex County Council with the support of the district council to find a way forward on the road scheme following its cancellation earlier this year. This group discussed the options and gave a clear steer not to accept any of the current options put forward by Highways England but instead to pursue investment from a future round of road investment namely RIS 2.
Both councils have now agreed with that view and formally made decisions not to accept the current proposals but to pursue a future option through RIS 2. They will work with Highways England, the community and businesses in order to find the right solution for the area.
Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “This has been a difficult process for everyone in the community. People are divided on what is best for the area and I have listened to the views of the community whilst weighing up what is best for Chichester and the surrounding area. Having listened very carefully over the past few months to all the views on this important issue I cannot see how we could pursue any of the current Highways England options which are on the table.”
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of the County Council, said: “Nobody can underestimate how much thought has gone into making this decision. We have known for some time that Highways England’s proposals did not meet the needs of our communities. Our question this week was - is that cost too much for Chichester to bear? The overwhelming answer was yes. We need what’s right for the area and for the community. We have drawn from the voices of our community who have been constant in their views and in their support to work with us to get the best solution. Work now has to start on where we go from here.”